A luxury Lamborghini Huracan donated to Pope Francis last autumn has fetched nearly $1 million at a Sotheby’s auction May 12 in Monaco.
The sportscar, which lists at around $400,000, sold for an impressive $970,000, most of which will go toward rebuilding the Iraqi city of Nineveh, which was occupied and raided by the Islamic State in 2014.
Members of Lamborghini’s top management presented the car—in papal colors of white with gold detailing—to Francis in the Vatican last November, at which time the Pope blessed the vehicle and signed its hood.
The Pontifical foundation “Aid to the Church in Need” is overseeing the Iraq project, which hopes to guarantee the return of Christians to the Nineveh plain by rebuilding homes, public structures and churches.
After four years as internally displaced persons in Iraqi Kurdistan, many Christians may finally be able to return to their homes in Iraq.
The remaining 30 percent of the proceeds from the Lamborghini sale will be donated to support two other charities, namely the Pope John XXIII Community which helps women who are victims of trafficking and prostitution, and two Italian associations working in Africa, the GICAM which specializes in hand surgery, and Friends of Central Africa which focuses on assisting women and children.
This is not the first time that the pope has regifted pricey treasures for charity.
A Harley-Davidson motorcycle donated to Francis, retailing for some $13,000, fetched an impressive $327,000 at a Paris auction in 2014. Proceeds from that sale went to benefit a homeless shelter and soup kitchen near Rome’s Termini train station.
Along with the Lamborghini, Sotheby’s also announced the upcoming sale of St. John Paul II’s 1975 Ford Escort GL as part of an online slideshow of papal cars put up for auction over the decades.
The powder blue Escort, which has no hubcaps, air conditioning or radio, has changed hands several times. It was purchased at auction in 1996 by a U.S. restaurant owner for $102,000 and resold at auction after the pope’s death in 2005 for $690,000.
Thomas D. Williams